From Personality to Individuality 01

First Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - From Personality to Individuality by Osho.
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What place has mysticism in your religion?
My religion is pure mysticism, there is nothing else in it. Other religions have no place for mysticism in them; they cannot have, for the simple reason that they have answers for every question – bogus answers with no evidence, with no argument. But they are consoling for the gullible humanity; they demystify existence. All knowledge demystifies existence.
I don’t teach you knowledgeability. On the other hand, all the religions do just that; they make you knowledgeable. They have a God as the creator. They have messengers of God bringing all the answers from the original source, indubitable, infallible. These religions could exploit humanity for the simple reason that man feels a kind of inner unease when there are questions and there is no way to find an answer. Questions are there – man is born with questions, with a big question mark in his heart – and it is good.
It is fortunate that man is born with a question mark, otherwise he would be just another species of animal. Buffaloes have no questions; they accept whatever is, unquestioningly – they are really faithful, religious. Trees have no questions, birds have no questions; it is only man and man’s prerogative, his privilege. In the whole of existence he alone is capable of asking a question.
The old religions have been trying to destroy your privilege. They have been forcing you down to the level of the animals. That’s what they call faith, “undoubting faith.” They want you to be buffaloes, donkeys, but not men – because the only special quality that defines man as separate from animalhood is the question mark. Yes, it is a turmoil.
Certainly to live without any questions is peaceful, but that peace is a dead peace, it has no life in it. That silence is the silence of a cemetery, of the graveyard. I would prefer man to be in a turmoil, but alive. I would not like him to become a graveyard. That peace, that silence is at a great cost: you are losing your life, you are losing your intelligence, you are losing all possibility of discovering an ecstatic way of life. That question mark is not there without significance. It is not the work of the Devil that each child is born with doubt and not with faith. Doubt is natural.
Each child asks a thousand and one questions. The more a child asks questions, the more potential he shows that he will be able to discover something. There are dumb children too – not literally dumb, but psychologically dumb. Parents like them very much because they don’t create any trouble, they don’t ask any questions – even a small child can destroy all your knowledgeability.
I am reminded of my own childhood and so many things that will help you to understand the beauty of the question mark. And unless you understand the question mark as something intrinsic to your humanity, to your dignity, you will not understand what mysticism is.
Mystifying is not mysticism. Mystifying is what the priests have been doing. They have taken away your question mark; they have destroyed your possibility of exploring the mystery of existence. But they have to give you some substitute, some lollipop that is mystifying. And that is what all the scriptures have been doing; their basic methodology has been the same. For example, in Hinduism the scriptures are written in a very difficult language, Sanskrit. Not a single Indian speaks it; it is a dead language. And as far as I am concerned, I have tried hard to find out whether it has ever been alive and I have not found a single piece of evidence. It has always been dead from the very beginning; it was born dead. It was invented by the priests. People have never used it, people cannot use it. It is so sophisticated, so grammatical, so mathematical, so phonetical that people cannot use it.
When people use a language, the language starts becoming less grammatical but more alive; less mathematical but more meaningful. It becomes raw, it is no longer polished and sophisticated – and it starts to grow. Sanskrit has never grown. A dead thing cannot grow. It is exactly where it was five thousand years ago – no growth. Obviously a dead thing cannot grow.
A living language used by people goes on growing. Its words become more and more rounded, just like stones slipping into the river become round. The continuous flow of the river, the continuous hitting against other rocks, against other stones, gives them a roundness. When a language is growing, that can be seen; you can immediately describe, define which languages are dead and which languages are living.
Dead languages will always be perfect; living languages will never be perfect – because living languages are used by imperfect, fallible, human beings, and they go on changing from mouth to mouth. They become more and more usable.
For example, English was introduced into India from the outside. A few words were bound to go into people’s use – for example, the word station. Now there had never been anything like a station in India before; it came after the English language had already come. Then the railways were introduced and of course the word station was there. But if you move all over India, in the villages you will never find a single Indian – I mean of the ninety-eight percent of Indians who don’t know English – using the word station. It is too difficult, too sophisticated. Through use, they have made – without anybody actually making it, just by use – they have come to the word tesan. That is simple. Station seems to be a little difficult, it is a strain, so tesan.
The word report came with the English language, the police stations and your having to “report.” But go to the villages and you will be surprised: nobody uses the word report, they use the word rapat. It has become rounded, rapat – the sophistication of report, the difficulty of report is gone. Rapat seems to be human. So many words, and they tell a tremendously meaningful story: when words are used by people then they start taking a shape of their own. They go on changing by mere usage.
Sanskrit remains static. Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Latin, all remain static, far above people’s heads, far above their hands. Sanskrit was never the language of the people and it was mystifying; the whole country depended on the priesthood and they would be saying pure rubbish – in Sanskrit. Once you know it, you will be surprised – what is sacred about it? But chanted in Sanskrit, you don’t know what it means, you are mystified.
To keep the scriptures sacred it was necessary to keep them secret. They should not reach the people, people should not be able to read them. Whenever they have a need, the priest is available, he will read the scripture. When printing was introduced Hindus were very reluctant for their scriptures to be printed: what would happen to the mystifying that they had maintained for thousands of years?
Hindus have mystified the whole country with the idea that they have all the secrets in their sacred books – but of those sacred books, ninety-nine percent is simply cow dung! For Hindus it may be holy, but for nobody else is it holy. When those sacred books were translated into other languages the mystifying process stopped; Hinduism lost its height, its glory, because then you could read it in any language – all the scriptures were available.
Mahavira never spoke in Sanskrit, Gautam Buddha never spoke in Sanskrit – for the simple reason that they were trying to defy the priesthood. They spoke in the language of the people. They were condemned by the priesthood: “This is not the right way. You should speak in Sanskrit. And both of you are perfectly well educated” – both were sons of great kings – “you know Sanskrit, so why do you speak ordinary people’s languages?”
They said, “For a certain reason: we want people to know that this mystifying has to be exposed. There is nothing in your scriptures, but because they are in a language which nobody understands, it is left to the people’s imagination.”
Even the priest may not understand what he is reciting because Sanskrit has to be learned by memorizing, not by understanding. There is a great difference between the two. Sanskrit has to be learned by rote, by memory; you have to memorize it. Its whole emphasis is on memory, not on understanding. There is no need to be bothered with what it means; all that you should be concerned about is how it is chanted.
And of course Sanskrit is a very beautiful language, with the quality of singing. You can memorize a song more easily than the same length of prose. Poetry is easily memorized; hence, all the languages which have depended on memory are all poetic, they look like songs, they sound beautiful. Meaning? – you should not ask, because the meaning may be just as stupid as any of today’s newspapers, perhaps even worse because it is a five-thousand-year-old newspaper.
When a brahmin is chanting you will be mystified by his chanting; it creates a certain atmosphere of song. And what is the meaning of what he is chanting? Perhaps the passage he is chanting is a prayer to God that means: “Please destroy the crops of my enemy, and let my crops double over last year’s. Let the milk disappear from my neighbor’s cows and let all that milk come to my cows.” When you understand the meaning, you will say, “What nonsense! Where is the sacredness? Where is the religion? This is religion?” – but the meaning is not to be bothered about.
If you listen to a Mohammedan calling from the tower of his mosque, you will be thrilled with its singsong quality. Arabic is tremendously touching, goes directly to the heart. It is meant to go there, it is not meant to go to your intellect, your reason. It is meant to touch your feelings, and it certainly touches them. So when you hear Arabic you will be thrilled, “There must be something immensely beautiful in it.” If just the sound makes you so thrilled and excited, what about the meaning? But please don’t ask the meaning…
Hence it is not to be allowed that the people learn the sacred language, the holy language. It is only for the priesthood – that is their monopoly.
This is the mystifying. This is a substitute to satisfy you, because they have taken away something of immense potential – the question mark – which would have made the whole existence a mystery. They had to give something as a substitute, a toy to play with. And they are ready with every kind of answer. Even before the child has asked, they start stuffing him with answers. Just look at the process. If the question has not been asked, the answer is irrelevant.
This is what I was going to tell you…
In my childhood they started giving me answers – because there was a special class for Jainism in the Jaina temple and every child had to attend it for an hour every evening. I refused.
I told my father, “In the first place I don’t have those questions for which they are supplying answers. This is stupid. When I have questions, I will go and learn their answers and try to find out whether they are correct or not. Right now I am not even interested in the question. Who created the world? My foot! – I am not interested. I know one thing for certain: I have not created it.”
My father said, “You are a strange child. All the children from the family are going; everybody from the neighborhood is going.”
Jainas tend to live in a neighborhood, a close neighborhood. Minorities are afraid of the majority so they remain close to each other; it is more protective. So their temple is in the middle of the neighborhood and all the children of the neighborhood go. That too is for protection, otherwise if it is in a Hindu neighborhood or in a Mohammedan neighborhood it can be burned any day. And it will become difficult otherwise: if there is a riot you cannot go to your own temple.
There are people who will not eat without going to the temple. First they have to go to the temple and worship, only then can they eat. So Jainas live in small sections of the town, city, village, with their temple in the middle and their whole community surrounding it.
“Everybody is going,” my father said.
I said, “They may have questions, or they are idiots. I am not an idiot, and I don’t have those questions, so I simply refuse to go. And I know what the teacher goes on teaching the children is absolute rubbish.”
My father said, “How can you prove that? You always ask me to prove things; now I ask you, how can you prove what he says is rubbish?”
I said, “Come with me.” He had to go many times to many places; it was just that the arguments had to be concluded.
When we reached the school, the teacher was teaching that Mahavira had three qualities: omnipotence, all-powerful; omniscient, all-knowing; omnipresent, everywhere-present.
I said, “You have listened, now come with me to the temple.” The class was just by the side of the temple, a room attached to the temple. I said, “Now come into the temple.”
He said, “But what for?”
I said, “Come, I will give you the proof.”
What I had done was I had just put a laddu on Mahavira’s statue – that is an Indian sweet, a round sweet, just like a ball. I had put a laddu on Mahavira’s head, so naturally two rats were sitting on Mahavira’s head eating the laddu. I said, “This is your omnipotent Mahavira. And I have seen these rats pissing on his head.”
My father said, “You are just impossible. Just to prove this, you did all that?”
I said, “What else to do? How else to prove it? Because I cannot find Mahavira. This is a statue; this is the only Mahavira I know and you know and the teacher knows. And he is omnipresent so he must be present here, seeing the rats and what they are doing to him. He could have driven those rats away and thrown away my laddu. I was not here, I had gone to pick you up – I had all the arrangements to make. Now prove to me that this man is omnipresent. And I’m not bothered at all – he may be. Why do I care?”
But before a child even asks a question, you stuff his head with an answer. That is a basic and major crime of all the religions. This is what programming is, conditioning is. These religions condemn me, that I am conditioning people; I am simply deconditioning people. They have done the conditioning: they have already filled your mind with all kinds of answers. I am simply destroying those answers so you can find your question. They have covered the question completely, so completely that you have forgotten that you had any question.
In fact you have never asked any questions. No chance has been given to you to be acquainted with your question, with your questioning intelligence. The religions are so afraid that once you start questioning – just once – then it is going to be difficult to force answers against your will, because that questioning intelligence will be raising doubts; it will raise more questions against their answers than you could have imagined. So the best way is to commit this basic crime: the child should be caught – the earlier the better – and he should be spoon-fed theology, dogmatics, doctrines, catechisms. Before he becomes even aware of the question he knows all the answers.
If you are a Christian how do you know that there is a trinity? That God the father, the Holy Ghost, and the son make the highest power monopoly – that they dominate the world, that they are the real dictators. How do you know it? It has been told to you. Perhaps you have forgotten who told you. It was told to you so early that unless you go deeper than that, further back than that, you will not be able to find who this fellow was who corrupted your mind.
The virgin birth… If you are not a Christian, you will immediately object: how can a virgin give birth to a child? But if you are a Christian, you simply don’t question it because before your questioning arose, the answer was put into you. They behaved with you as if you are a computer – they just go on feeding in the answers. If somebody says anything against Christianity, you are ready to kill or be killed for this rubbish that you are not even responsible for discovering on your own. And the person who forced it on you did not himself know either: the same was done to him.
For centuries it goes on and on. Each generation goes on giving all its stupidities and superstitions to the new generation, thinking that they are helping you to become knowledgeable. And once you become knowledgeable, the doors of mysticism are closed for you.
Mysticism means looking at existence without any prejudice.
Hence I say no so-called religion can be really mystic – mystifying of course, but never mystic because they cannot fulfill the basic condition to be a mystic. You have to drop all your knowledge, all that you have taken on faith has to be thrown down the drain. Nothing is valuable in it, so don’t be worried; it is not a treasure, it is a tragedy. If you can get rid of it you will feel light, you will feel suddenly unburdened, your eyes fresh like a child’s eyes.
All these layers of knowledge: Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, Jewish… All these layers of knowledge – it does not matter who has committed the crime against you; all the religions are in the same boat, committing the same crime. And because they are all committing the same crime, nobody objects. The whole of humanity is in their grip.
Whenever a person like me objects, obviously he is to be condemned by all, criticized by all – but not answered. Nobody has ever answered me. From my childhood I have been continually asking. Nobody has even answered a single question – there are no answers. When you understand that all answers are arbitrary, created by man just to make you feel at ease…
It is just like the mother telling the child who is not ready to sleep alone in the room, “Don’t be worried, Jesus is with you. You can sleep. You are not alone.” How can the child think that the mother is deceiving him? His own mother? Nor does the mother think that she is deceiving; she believes it. Her mother poisoned her; she is doing the same to her own child. Naturally, what else can you do?
The child is afraid to be alone, but he has to learn to be alone, to sleep alone. Soon he will be going to a boarding school; he has to learn to stand on his own. For how long can he go on clinging to his mother’s frock? She finds a good reason for saying it: “If he starts feeling the presence of Jesus or God and goes to sleep…”
The child will also feel at ease, less afraid. Nothing has changed – it is the same room, he is alone, the darkness is there – but now there is a little comfort, that Jesus is looking after him, that God is looking after him, that God is everywhere. His own mother says so, his father says so, his teacher says so, his priest says so; everybody cannot be wrong. And God is invisible so you cannot see him, but a certain at ease-ness comes to him.
That’s what all this knowledge has been doing to you. It relieves you from inquiring, and inquiry is troublesome. In this world you cannot get anything unless you are ready to risk something to get it. You have got God so cheaply, without even asking. Now what value can this God have? You have got religion so cheaply. This religion, this God, are ways of mystifying existence so that your question remains repressed. My effort here consists in demystifying.
Perhaps that is why the question of what place mysticism has in my religion has arisen – because I am continuously demystifying. The questioner does not understand the difference between mysticism and mystifying. He thinks they are synonymous. They are not: they are against each other. It is mystifying that prevents mysticism from growing. And there is no other way except to destroy mystifying completely, uproot it completely.
Then there is no need for me to give you any answer. Your question is there, and existence is there. Who am I to come between you and existence? Face existence. Look at the sunrise, the sunset. Then you don’t have any answers – you just see what is there: a tremendously beautiful sunset.
You will be overwhelmed. You would love to sing or dance or paint or just lie down there on the grass and not do anything, just to go on looking. And a certain communion between you and the beauty of the sunset starts happening. Something transpires – this is mysticism. You know nothing, and yet you know.
There is knowledge which does not know at all. And there is an ignorance which knows everything, because ignorance is innocence.
I can say to you, blessed are the ignorant; but the second part of my sentence cannot be that they shall inherit the kingdom of God. No, because that will be mystifying. I will say: blessed are the ignorant, for theirs is the kingdom of God already, now, here. It is not a question that they shall inherit sometime, somewhere in some life after death – that is mystifying.
Mysticism is cash. Mystifying is a promissory note. Nobody knows whether you will be able to cash this promissory note. The government may fail, the bank may go bankrupt. Only banks can go bankrupt, who else? And this promissory note can be cashed only after death; that is the condition on it. “In God we believe. In God we trust.” And the pope promises you that this much will be given to you after death but it is always after death. They have been exploiting people with such a simple means of exploitation that anybody who has a little bit of intelligence can see it.
Life is mystery; scriptures are mystifying. Scriptures are dead and the priesthood lives on these dead scriptures. A real authentic man lives life, not scriptures. And by sheer living, intensively, totally, he is surrounded by mystery all over. Each moment is a mystery. You can taste it, but you cannot reduce it to objective knowledge. That’s the meaning of mystery: you have a certain way of knowing it, but there is no way to reduce it to knowledge. It never becomes knowledge, it always remains knowing. You have a sense of knowing, but if somebody insists, “If you know, then give me the answer,” and you are a true, honest man, you will say, “I have a sense of knowing but I also have another sense that it cannot be reduced to knowledge.”
That’s why Lao Tzu refused to write anything his whole life – for the simple reason that the moment you write it, it is something else. But this can be detected only by one who has some acquaintance with mystery.
It is not a question of scholarship: a scholar cannot detect anything wrong in Lao Tzu. Confucius was a great scholar in Lao Tzu’s time, his contemporary. The world knows Confucius more than Lao Tzu, naturally: he was a great scholar, a well-known wise man. Great emperors used to visit him for advice. The emperor of China, who must have been the greatest emperor of those days – because China has always been a continent unto itself – appointed Confucius to be his prime minister, so that he was always available to him for advice. But when Confucius went to see Lao Tzu, do you know what happened? He came back almost in a nervous breakdown…

Lao Tzu was known at least to those people who were in search. And when the disciples of Confucius came to know that he was going to Lao Tzu they waited outside – Lao Tzu was living in a mountain cave.
Confucius did not want anybody else to accompany him because he knew that the man was strange, unpredictable. How he may behave, what he will do, what he will say, nobody knows. And he may cut you to pieces before your own disciples. It is better to go alone first.
So he said to his disciples, “Wait outside. Let me go in.” When he came out, he was trembling.
The disciples asked, “What happened?”
He said, “Just take me home. I am not myself. That man is a dragon, never go to that man.”
What had happened inside the cave? Lao Tzu’s disciples were there, that’s why we know what happened, otherwise a great meeting would have been missed. Lao Tzu’s disciples were also very shocked – even his disciples, because Confucius was older than Lao Tzu, far more well-known, respected. Who knew Lao Tzu? – very few people.
The way Lao Tzu behaved with Confucius was simply outrageous. But not for Lao Tzu. He was a simple man, neither arrogant nor humble, just a pure human being. And if his purity, his innocence, and his ordinariness hit hard on Confucius, what could he do?
If you go to a mirror and the mirror shows your face to be ugly, is it the fault of the mirror? You can do one thing, you can avoid mirrors – never look in a mirror. Or you can manufacture a mirror that makes you look beautiful. That is possible. There are hundreds of types of mirrors, concave and convex, and who knows what: you can manage to look tall, and you can manage to look fat, you can manage to look small, and you can manage to look beautiful. Perhaps the mirrors you have are deceiving you. Perhaps the manufacturers are creating mirrors to give you a consolation – that you are so beautiful. Women particularly, standing before the mirror, forget everything else. It is very difficult to take a woman away from a mirror. She goes on looking in the mirror. It must be something in the mirror, otherwise people are just homely.
Lao Tzu’s disciples asked, “What did you do?”
He said, “I have not done anything, I simply reflected; it was my response. That idiot thinks he knows, and he is only a scholar. Now what can I do if I made it clear to him that all scholarship is rubbish, and told him, ‘You don’t know anything at all?’”
When you face a man like Lao Tzu you cannot be dishonest either, at least in front of him. Confucius remained just like a statue, frozen, because what Lao Tzu was saying was right: “Scholarship is not knowing. You are quoting others, have you anything to say on your own?” And Confucius had nothing to say on his own. He was a great scholar he could have quoted all the old ancient scriptures – but on his own? He had never thought about it, that anybody was going to ask, “Have you something to say of your own?”
When Lao Tzu looked at him, Confucius knew that that man could not be deceived. Confucius asked him about something; Lao Tzu said, “No, I don’t know anything.”
Then Confucius asked, “What happens after death?”
Lao Tzu was just like a flare, became aflame, and he said, “Again! Are you going to drop your stupidity or not? You are alive – can you say what life is? You are alive – can you reduce your experience of life into objective knowledge and make a statement of what life is? And remember that you are alive, so you must know. You don’t know life while you are alive and you are bothering about death! You will have enough time in your grave. At that time you can meditate on what death is. Right now, live! And don’t live lukewarm.”
Many people go on living on dimmer switches. They go on dimming, dimming. They don’t die, they simply go on dimming; they simply fade out. Death happens to only a very few people, those who have really lived and lived hot. They know the difference between life and death because they have tasted life, and that experience of life makes them capable of tasting death too. Because they know life, they can know death. If living, you miss life; dying, you are going to miss death.
“You are wasting your time; just go out and live!” said Lao Tzu to Confucius. “One day you will be dead; don’t be worried, I have never heard of anybody living for ever, so one day you will be dead. Death makes no exceptions – that you are a great scholar or a prime minister. You will die, that much I can predict. Nothing else is predictable but that much can be predicted easily – that you will die. In your grave, silently, meditate on what death is.” Confucius was trembling.
The king also asked him, “You have been to Lao Tzu – what happened?”
Confucius said, “All that I was afraid of happened. He made me look so idiotic that even after forty-eight hours I am still trembling. I am still afraid of that man’s face – I had nightmares for two nights! That man is following me, and, it seems, will go on following me. And he had some eyes! They go into you just like swords.” He said, “One thing I can say to you as your adviser: don’t ever think of meeting this man. He is a dragon, he is not a man.”

Mysticism is to know life, without knowledge standing in between you and living.
But you go on living a borrowed kind of life, as if somebody else is living. You are like a zombie, sleepwalking, a somnambulist. And this whole situation has been created by the religions. The trouble is that people think that the religions have been a great blessing to the world; just the contrary – they have been the greatest curse to humanity. They destroyed all that was living in you and replaced it with something dead. Your question was a living phenomenon. Your doubt was breathing, beating in your heart. But they told you, “Don’t doubt – otherwise you will suffer.”
My father used to tell me, “I am concerned about you. You use such words against religion, God, heaven, and other doctrines, that I am concerned you may suffer for it.”
I told him, “I am ready, but before that suffering happens, let me live my life, and I will not have any grudge, I will not complain. In fact, I should be concerned about you, because all this knowledge is hocus-pocus and you think this boat made of paper is going to take you to the further shore. I tell you, you will drown.
“I am from the very beginning trying to swim – I am not depending on any paper boat. If I drown, okay, it is my own choice. Nobody else is responsible for it, and I have no complaint. I enjoyed life. I enjoyed denying all that was bogus and borrowed. I enjoyed being myself. And if this is the reward that existence gives to an authentic man, I take it with grace.
“But what about you, when your boat – made of paper, holy paper, made out of scriptures – is sinking? You missed your life. You cannot feel grateful, because for what will you feel grateful? Life, that may have made you feel gratitude, has slipped out of your hands, and now you are drowning and you don’t know how to swim because you never doubted the boat. I have every chance of reaching the other shore if I can swim.”
He was a good swimmer himself. And I loved swimming so much that whenever my family wanted to find me they had to go to the side of the river to find where I was – because I had to be somewhere in the river. For four to six hours every day I was in the river. Once in a while we both used to go for a swim. I used to invite him, particularly in the rainy season.
And he would say, “Don’t do that,” because in the rainy season the river was a mountainous river. It would suddenly become so wide, and so big; otherwise it was a small river. In the summer you could not conceive how much bigger it would become: a hundredfold at least, miles broad. And the current was so heavy that if I wanted to cross the river – and I have crossed that river hundreds of times in the rainy season – it would take me at least two to three miles downstream. Only then would I be able to reach the other shore. To move directly from this point straight to the other side was impossible. The current was so strong that crossing it I would be carried at least three miles down river.
But I said, “I manage it, and you are certainly a better swimmer, with more strength than me. I am just a child. You are a strong man, you can make it. He came with me only once, and that too because I created a situation where he had to come.
My sister had married and her husband had come to visit us. He was a wrestler; he was the university champion. It was a joke in the university, because when I entered the university – it was his last year, final MA – I stayed in his room. So it became a joke because two champions… I was the university champion in debate, and he was a wrestler.
But everybody was worried about how we would manage because I was continually arguing and he knew only one argument: fighting. He was accepted by the university and passed all the examinations, but it was not that he was passing those examinations: the university wanted him to remain in the university because he was the all-India champion. Champions are valuable; they raise the credit of your university.
He knew nothing of what the examinations were about. From the morning, he was doing hours of exercises; in the evening, more exercises – and he was continuously wrestling with people, and his teacher. He was certainly a very good wrestler. I have seen him fighting. He finally became our sannyasin, but unfortunately he died very early. He was not more than fifty-five when he died.
He had come with me from the university and I said to my father, “Today, we are both going swimming. He is a swimmer as well as a wrestler. You have to come.” He could not say no in front of his son-in-law – that would have looked a little as if he was afraid. And the son-in-law could not say anything because the father-in-law was coming – an old man. And I was very young and he was an all-India champion wrestler; so how could he expose that he was afraid?
When he saw the river he said, “Really, are we going to cross it?”
I said, “Of course.”
My mother was trying to prevent us; my sister was trying to prevent her husband, but I was all for it. I said, “This chance will never come again; let us see what happens. At the most we’ll be taken three, four miles down stream; we will just have to walk four miles up again.” So when I jumped in, they had to jump.
It was terrible – the current was so strong that my brother-in-law said, “It would have been better if I had said that I was afraid before; to go back now is impossible. We are right in the middle, and I don’t see any hope of reaching the other side.”
My father said, “I always knew that one day this boy was going to create some trouble for everybody.”
But I said, “When we have crossed half, it is proof enough: we can cross the other half because we have already crossed half.” Many times they both agreed to turn back, but I said, “You are being absolutely foolish, because to return is still the same distance. And for your whole life you will be known as a coward. What is the point of returning now? In the same time, with the same energy, we will reach the other shore. Even if you return, I am going to the other shore.”
That pulled them out of it; they felt, “He is going to make it because he has been going across continually. If he goes on and reaches the other shore and we turn back now, he will spread the rumor in the whole city: ‘Look, this is the all-India wrestling champion, and this is my father, who has been swimming his whole life. They both turned back from the middle of the river leaving a small child to go alone to the other side.’”
“Now,” they said, “whatsoever happens, even if death happens, there is nothing to do but follow him. He will not turn back.” My father said to my brother-in-law, “You don’t know him, he is not the type to go back on anything. He would rather die – and we are both going to die with him! We have unnecessarily got ourselves into trouble. I have been avoiding this for years, but just because of you, I agreed.”
And my brother-in-law said, “Just because of you, I agreed. He played a trick on both of us.”
But finally we reached the bank and I said, “Now, what do you say? Just a little courage and a little readiness to take the risk, and to go into the unknown… And you were trying to go back, which was the same distance – but it was known. That shore was known, so you felt that perhaps it was easier because it was known, and this side was unknown. The unknowability made you afraid, otherwise what arithmetic is this?”
We reached the other shore. We walked three, four miles up again, but they were not prepared to swim back because if we wanted to reach the other shore at the same point we started, then we would have had to go on four miles further. They said, “Four more miles walking? – and this experience of almost dying? We are going to catch the boat from here!” – because that was the point from where the boat used to leave to the other shore, to take passengers from this side to that side.
They said, “Now whatever you want to do, you can. If you want to go four miles on, go; we are not coming. We have decided – we both have decided – that whatsoever happens, if people call us cowards, okay.”
I said, “No, I am not going to spread the rumor about you, and I am not going four miles just to prove you cowards. This is my usual practice: I walk up again, and then from four miles further up, I swim across and reach the spot where I have left my clothes. But I will not do that; that will be too much.
“I have already done more than is supposed of a son; I will not do that. But remember one thing: it is better to be ready to swim rather than to wait for boats which are unreliable; better to rely on your own hands than to rely on some knowledge which may be just arbitrarily created by clever people.”
Mysticism needs no other qualification except a simple open mind.
You are not a Hindu, you are not a Mohammedan, you are not a Jaina, you are not a Buddhist – you are simply you. And then see: life has no answers; all answers are mystifying.
Life can be lived, can be loved, can be danced, can be drunk, can be tasted. You can do so many things with life. Just remove the dimmer switch.
Livva – not a little hot, livva real hot! And life immediately becomes a mystery. My religion is pure mysticism.

Many things which once gave a person a sense of belonging are disappearing: the tribe, the family marriage, even friendship. What is happening? What will happen next?
It is something beautiful that is happening, something really great. Yes, the tribe is disappearing. The family is disappearing, marriage is disappearing, friendship is disappearing. So far so good – because it leaves you alone to be yourself.
The tribal man is just a number in the tribe. The tribal man is the most primitive man, the most unevolved, closer to animals than to man. He lives only as a number in the tribe. It is good that tribes have disappeared. The disappearance of the tribe created families. At that stage, the family was a great advantage because the tribe was a big phenomenon; the family was a small unit. You had more freedom in the family than in the tribe. The tribe was very dictatorial and very powerful. The head, the chief of the tribe was all-powerful, even enough to kill you.
There are still a few tribes in very undeveloped countries. In India there are a few tribes of aboriginals and I have been to those tribes. I got myself appointed in Raipur as a professor just because not far from Raipur is the nearest and the most primitive tribe in India, in Bastar. It is a small state, a tribal state. People still live naked and eat raw meat. Perhaps these are the people from the time when fire had not been discovered, and they have carried on the idea of eating raw meat.
They are very simple, innocent; but as far as the tribe, its conventions and its traditions are concerned, absolutely orthodox. There is no question of anybody rebelling against the tribe. He will be immediately killed, sacrificed to a god, because anybody going against the tribe means he is angering the god – and the tribe cannot afford to make the god angry.
The tribe is carrying on the tradition created by the god himself. They don’t have scriptures, they don’t have any written language; so the priest, who is also the chief, has all the powers. And it is impossible in that tribe to rebel and still remain alive.
You cannot escape, because outside you will not be accepted at all. They don’t know any language that is spoken outside their tribe, they are naked… They put on small wraparound clothes only on the twenty-sixth of January every year, when a small group of them goes to Delhi, to participate in the celebrations for Republican Day, when India became a republic.
Just a small group is trained to speak a little Hindi and to wear some clothes: “Don’t be naked in Delhi, particularly when you are passing before the president and the prime minister and all the ambassadors and the invited guests from the world. At least at that time you should be properly dressed.” So a small group is trained. The same group goes every year because nobody else wants to bother with all this.
Raipur was so close that I used to visit those people just to see how the tribe has a hold over its people. It has an absolute hold because it does not leave you in a position to revolt. You can leave the tribe, but you cannot live outside the tribe. All that you know is the tribal way of living. If you are caught outside the tribe eating raw meat – they simply kill the animal and start eating it – you will be immediately taken by the police. Naked, you cannot go outside – you will immediately be caught.
They don’t know any language, they don’t know any skills. All the skills that they do know are useful only in their tribe. For example, a certain dance, a certain kind of drumming; but that is not used anywhere else except in their tribe. So nobody can move out of the tribe; mobility is impossible.
Living inside the tribe, and going against the tribe and its conventions is impossible. The moment the chief finds out, he has found a sacrifice for the god. Then the whole tribe gathers together, dances and creates so much noise – and a bonfire. And the man is pushed into the bonfire as a sacrifice to the god. The tribe was a collective mind. It is still existent in your collective unconscious.
The family was a development at that time because it made you part of a smaller unit, gave you a little freedom. And your family became protective toward you. Now the family is also disappearing because something which is protective at one point is bound to become prohibitive at another point.
It is just like when you grow a small plant and you put a protective fence round it. But don’t forget to remove it when the tree is grown up, otherwise the same fence will not allow the tree to grow. When you put it there, the tree was thin like a finger; that’s why you put a small fence around it, it protected it from animals, from children. But when the tree trunk grows wider then the fence then that which was protective becomes prohibitive, and you have to remove it.
That time has come. The family is no longer protective. It is prohibitive. It was a great step out of the tribe. Now another step has to be taken: from the family to the commune. The commune can give you all the freedom that you need, and all the protection that is needed without prohibiting you at any point.
So I say it is good that the tribe has disappeared, that the family is disappearing. Yes, you will miss it because you have become addicted; these are addictions. You will miss the father, the mother, but that is only a transitory period. When there are communes established around the world, you will be immensely surprised that you have found so many uncles and so many aunts, and you have lost only one mother and one father. What a gain!
Having one father and one mother is psychologically dangerous because if the child is a boy, he starts imitating the father; if a child is a girl, she starts imitating the mother, and great psychological problems arise.
The girl imitates the mother but she hates the mother, because the girl is a woman; she loves the father. This is an absolutely, biologically solid, scientifically proven fact: the girl loves the father and hates the mother. But the girl cannot imitate the father, she is a girl; she has to imitate the mother.
The boy loves the mother because he is a man, and she is a woman – and the first woman in his life. He loves the mother, he hates the father. He is jealous of the father too because the father and mother are in love; he cannot tolerate it. Small children show it in many ways: if the father and mother are sleeping in bed, the boy will come and sleep just in the middle of both. It is not just that he wants both. No, he is separating them: “Get away!”
The girl is also jealous of the mother. She would like to take the place of the mother and be the father’s beloved. And this is not only about the child. If the father shows too much love to the daughter, the mother immediately starts giving him a headache. If the mother is too loving toward the boy, the father starts feeling left out.
But the father and the mother are fading out: soon they will be gone. But they will leave this whole psychological mess in the children. Now the girl will hate her mother her whole life, and anything that appears to be similar to the mother, she will hate. Strangely enough, she will behave exactly like the mother, so she will hate herself too. She will see her face in the mirror and she will remember her mother. She will look at her behavior and she will remember her mother. And the same is going to happen to the boy. This mess is creating almost fifty percent of the psychological diseases in men and women around the world.
A commune will have a totally fresh psychological health. This is possible only in a commune, because the child… Of course the child will be born of a mother and will have a father, but that will not be the only boundary around him. He will be moving in the whole commune and all men of the age of his father will be his uncles – and an uncle is a nice person. The father is always a little nasty, just because of his function. He is a powerful man and has to show that power; he has to discipline the boy.
The same is true about the mother: she has to discipline the girl. She is afraid of what the girl is going to be like if she is not forced into a certain ideal which fits with the society, so she disciplines out of love, with good intentions. But the uncle is not trying to impose anything. When there are so many uncles and so many aunts, a very great phenomenon comes into existence: you are not carrying a single person’s image in your mind.
The boy carries the mother’s image in his mind: he would like a woman exactly like his mother to be his wife. Now, where can you find your mother again? So he will fall in love with a woman who has some similarity, but just similarity is not going to function. People become attracted to strange things: the color of the hair, the way the woman walks, the color of her eyes, the length of her nose, the cut of her face; something is similar. But only some things can be similar; what about everything else?
So, you fall in love with the similar. But you are also falling in love with the whole person, not just the way she walks. She will also cook, and it’s not going to be your mother’s cooking. Then you will know that just walking is not going to help. She screams also, she shouts also. She is not behaving like your mother. She is your wife, why should she behave like your mother? She has not come to baby-sit.
She has been in search of a husband, and because there was something in you similar to her father – the length of your nose, the length of your ears – she fell in love with you. Now what to do with your ears? How long can she go on playing with your ears? And you won’t like it either: “What nonsense is this? I am not just ears, I am a whole person!” But she has no desire for the whole person.
This is the trouble that exists, and it is because of a certain reason: every boy has an idea of a woman, and that woman is his mother; every girl has an idea of a man, and that man is her father. That’s why all love affairs are bound to fail. No love affair can succeed, because the basic psychology is against its success.
So the only successful love affair is one which remains only in your mind, but never materializes. The great lovers of the world – Laila and Majnu, Romeo and Juliet, Shiri and Farhad, Soni and Mahival – are great lovers whose story the world has remembered. But if they had married, finished; nobody would ever have heard of their love story. Because they could not materialize their relationship into actuality, it remained only in their minds. The society and the parents or something came in between, and they had to remain apart, separated. The love remained aflame because it was only in imagination.
In imagination there is no problem. You create your lover the way you want. Now, in your imagination your lover cannot say, “No! I am going to smoke” – because it is your imagination. If you want him to smoke, he will smoke; if you don’t want him to smoke, he will not. But a real husband will smoke even if you say he should not smoke, that it stinks, that if he smokes you cannot sleep with him in the bed. The more you insist, the more he will resist: “Go to hell, sleep anywhere.” His cigarette is far more important than you. It is far more significant for him because it gives him support, help, friendship, company – thousands of things in such a small cigarette. And what can a woman do? So if there is a choice he will choose the cigarette and leave the woman. But in your imagination you can manage whatsoever you want.
The man goes on imagining the woman: in his imagination she does not perspire, needs no deodorant. In his imagination she never becomes a pain in the neck because imagination cannot go to the neck, imagination remains in the head. And it is just your painting, so whatsoever color you want to put there, you go on putting. There is no problem. There is no resistance from the painting like: “I am not going to take this color” or, “I am not going to wear this sari.”
So the only love affairs which are famous in the world are the love affairs which never materialized. What happened to all the other love affairs? – nobody bothers about them. In every story, when the lovers get married the last sentence is: “Then they lived happily ever after.” It’s strange: every lover in every story then lives happily ever after? In fact, after that the real story begins, before that the story was all imagination.
It is good that the family is disappearing. And with it nations will disappear because the family is the unit of the nation. So I am tremendously happy whenever I see the family disappearing, because I know behind it will go the nation. With it will go the so-called religions, because it is the family which imposes religion, nationality, and all kinds of things on you. Once the family is gone, who is going to force Christianity on you, Hinduism on you. Who is going to insist that you are an American, that you are an Oregonian?
Once the family is gone, much of the psychological disease will be gone, much of the political insanity will be gone. You should be happy that they are disappearing. Marriage was an invention against nature. It has tortured man long enough, but there was a time when it was needed.
It was needed because there were powerful people and there were weaker people. The powerful people used to collect all the beautiful women for themselves, and the weaker people remained without wives. Their biology remained unsatisfied. So marriage had to be invented – it was invented by the weaker men. The weaker men got together, must have got together some time in the past and must have decided on it, because when weaker men are together then the stronger man is no longer the stronger. He is stronger than a single man, but he is not stronger then the whole mass of weak people.
The weak people got together and they said, “One man, one wife” – because that is the ratio in which children are born. It was forced by the weaker man on the stronger people; otherwise it was bound to be that they would collect all the beautiful women to their harems and the weaker people would remain sex-starved. That situation was not good. The family helped, and the monogamous family came into being. It was of great importance that the weaker people were no longer sex-starved.
But now the family is no longer needed, now it is phony. It is possible now that the woman can earn, the man can earn; they need not depend on each other. It is possible for a woman not to have children. It is possible for a woman to hire another woman to have her children grow in the other woman’s womb, or she can arrange for a test-tube baby. Sex and children are no longer connected. You can have sex and it does not mean that you have to suffer children too. Now the family is absolutely out of date. The commune has the future.
A commune means many independent individuals, not belonging to each other in the old ways of family, tribe, religion, nation, race – no. Only in one way are they related to each other: that they are all independent. They respect your independence, and the same they expect from you: to respect their independence.
That is the only relationship, the only friendship, the only thing that is the cementing force in a commune: that we respect each other’s individuality, independence. The other’s way of life, his style of life is absolutely accepted, respected. The only condition is that nobody is allowed to interfere with anybody else in any sense.
So it is good that all this dead past is disappearing, and freeing us to create a new man, a new humanity, a new world.

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